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Tracing the origin of a flower show that heralds spring

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: February 11, 2013

By Simon Parker

Daffodils in bloom at Boconnoc during the annual Cornwall Garden Society spring flower show

Daffodils in bloom at Boconnoc during the annual Cornwall Garden Society spring flower show

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The Victorian origins of a Cornish flower show which today attracts tens of thousands of gardeners and plant-lovers is being celebrated in an exhibition of photographs and artefacts.

Cornwall Spring Flower Show was first held in March 1897 at Truro Concert Hall and was billed at the time as a "daffodil spring flower exhibition".

A display which opens today at Cornwall Studies Library in Redruth will reveal the history of the event that travelled to various venues across Cornwall before settling on its permanent base at Boconnoc, near Lostwithiel.

Cornwall Garden Society member Pat Ward has spent many hours trawling through old newspapers to build a complete record of the event for the exhibition.

"It's taken a long time but I've really enjoyed discovering what happened in the past, finding old photographs and creating a display that fills one of the library's rooms," she said. "There will be Cornwall Garden Society members on hand to provide more information for anyone who wants it."

Noted horticultural J C Williams of Caerhays Castle was the president of the debut show, when admission was a shilling and prizes of up to 15 shillings were awarded to winners.

Although much has changed, the central tenet of displaying the finest spring blooms remains. Boconnoc Estate today welcomes thousands of visitors and hundreds of competitors. No longer just a daffodil display, the exhibits include camellias, magnolias, azaleas, rhododendrons, herbaceous plants, flowering bulbs and ornamental trees.

Although the show began in 1897, this year's event – to be held on April 6 and 7 – will be only its 101st outing, having been cancelled for the war years, for snow in 1947 and because of petrol rationing in 1957.

The History Of The Cornwall Garden Society Spring Flower Show exhibition will run all this week except Wednesday at the Cornish Studies Library In Alma Place, Redruth. Admission free.

For information visit www. cornwallflowershow.co.uk



St Michael's Church: Claude Bourbon with Medieval and Spanish Blues. Adult £7, child £5, conc £5. Tickets 01404 43480. Friday 7.30pm.


Cedars Inn: Cedars Big Band Concert. Starts 8pm. Free admission.

Queens Theatre: Northern Devon Springtime Music celebration. Monday 6pm; Michael Wollny's, Gallery Cafe Thursday 8pm; Songs in the Key of Stevie Friday 7.45pm; Sensational 60s Experience Saturday 7.30pm.


Kingsley Statue 455 269: North Devon Ramblers Linear Walk Westward Ho! Opt Breakfast. Return bus. About four miles. Saturday 7.30pm.


St Lawrence's Community Church: Valentines Coffee morning. Saturday 10am-11.30am. Raffle, Refreshments and stalls.


Heathdene, Paradise Road: Coffee morning, Wednesday 10.30am-noon. Proceeds for CHSW. Little Harbour And CLIC.


Devon Guild of Craftsmen: Get Fresh emerging designer-makers from the South West. Until February 24.


Village Hall: Bingo eyes down Monday 7.30pm.


The Old Chapel: Big Jazz Choir with Helen Porter £6.50 per session. Wednesday 7.30pm; Cornish band Wurlitza accompanies the classic 1927 film Sunrise. Saturday.


Methodist Church: Callington Community Gospel Choir Concert in aid of roof appeal. £6 with refreshments. All welcome. Saturday 7pm.


Combe Martin Kiln CP 578472: North Devon Ramblers paths around the village (not Hangman). Opt Lunch. About three and a half miles. Thursday 10.45am.


31 High Street: Newton St Cyres Art Group Exhibition. Weekday 9.30am-5pm. Until March 29.


Village Hall: Playford style country dancing. Friday 7.30pm.

The Great Hall: Devon Baroque, directed from the organ & harpsichord by Jonathan Watts, with soloists Amy Carson and Julian Rippon. Sunday 3pm.

Barn Cinema: Rigoletto Live from the Metropolitan Opera. Saturday 5.55pm.


The Flavel: Kate Dimbleby and Naadia Sheriff on piano, Beware of Young Girls: The Dory Previn Story. Saturday 8pm.


Methodist Church: Community Lunch, bring and buy, raffle etc. All welcome. Wheelchair friendly. £5.50 Cottage Pie. Tuesday 12-1.15pm.


Village Hall: Miranda Sykes and Rex Preston concert, Sunday 7pm for 7.30pm.


Poltimore House: February Grounds Open Afternoon. Take a stroll, afternoon team in the Chapel. Dogs on leads welcome. Sunday 12-4pm.

Northcott Theatre: The Pirates of Penzance. Tues to Feb 16.

The Great Hall, Exeter University: Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, conductor Pete Harrison present Hollywood Blockbusters. Thursday 7.30pm.

White Ensign Club: Member of the SW Group National Service (Royal Air Force) Association Tuesday 11.30am.

Royal Albert Memorial Museum: Gallery 21, The BP Portrait Award showcases the very best in contemporary portrait friends and family. Until May 19; Petal Power 1910-1940 afternoon lecture. Saturday 2-3pm.


All Saints Church hall: Magnolia WI Jumble Sale. Quality items for sale. Saturday 10am.

Withycombe Methodist Church Hall: Exmouth Folk Dance Club with callers Wendy and Shirley. Thursday 8pm-10pm.


Princess Pavilion: Lynn Paula Dance School, song and dance from the West End Musicals. Friday 7.30pm, Saturday 2pm 7.30pm.


The Royal Standard: Euchre Drive, Monday 8pm.


Plough Arts Centre: Strange Neighbours: the Beauty and Fascination of Devon's Insects. Until Feb 23; Angel Heart Theatre present Mazymeg and the Honey Bees, Tues 10.30am and 1.30pm; Gabby Young & Other Animals, Thursday and Friday 7pm; Open Mouth Poetry Night, Thursday 8pm; Vital Theatre present The Gospel of Matthew. Friday 8pm; The Man Who Was Hamlet, Saturday 8pm.


Skills Centre, Well Park: Holsworthy Local History Society with Christine Williams who will given an illustrated talk on Holsworthy and Bridgerule's links with Australia. Thursday 7.15pm.


Landmark: Gilbert and Sullivan Abridged. Saturday 8pm.


Harbour House: Primary Colours celebrates the creativity of young people in primary schools. Saturday until March 6.


The Eagle House Hotel: Launceston Stamp Club meeting to be held on Thursday 7pm. A special evening of all postcards for collectors. Free admission.


Westward Inn: Jackie Oates, Folk on the Moor. Sunday.


Long Room: Liskeard country market. Friday 8.30am-12noon.

Public Hall: Miracle Theatre Company present Frankenstein! Saturday.


Village Hall: Okehampton Sequence Dance Club. Admission £1.50 per person. Beginners welcome. Wednesday 8pm-10.30pm.


WI Hall, Crantock Street: Scottish Country Dancing Friday 7.30-9.30pm. £3. All welcome.

Bay Hotel, Esplanade road: Newquay Pentire Probus Club Coffee morning. New members always welcome. Wednesday 10am.


Courtenay Centre: Newton Abbot and District Society of Arts present Pure Brass. Tickets £14 (NADSA members £12, students £2 on the door. Friday 7.30pm.


The Gott Hall: Prize Bingo, Raffle and homemade supper. Facilities for wheelchairs. Visitors welcome. Thursday 7.30pm.


Drum Theatre: My Perfect Mind. Thursday-March 2.

Stoke Library, Devonport: Jane Austen Pride & Prejudice 200th Anniversary Display. Library opening times.

RBL Club, Crownhill: Plymouth Jazz Club presentThe Savannah Jazz Band. Tickets £9 visitors. Sunday.

Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery: Ida Kar: Bohemian Photographer Until April 13; Gordon Baldwin: Objects for a Landscape until May 11.

Pavilions: Tuesday Plan B; Wednesday Boogie Nights; Friday Paloma Faith, Saturday Plymouth Raiders vs Surrey Heat basketball, Sunday Plymouth Raiders vs Newcastle Eagles.


Memorial Hall: Old Cornwall society. Talk on The Cornish Influence in Mexico by Richard Williams. All visitors welcome. Wednesday 7.30pm.


Village Hall: Whist Drive. Tuesday 7.30pm.


Methodist Church Hall: St Agnes Museum AGM on Thursday 7.30pm followed by talk on The History of St Agnes in 12 Objects. Members free. Non-members £1.Refreshments.


St Stephens Community Hall, St Stephen: Musical evening with Loveny Male Voice choir and the Imerys Singers. In aid of the Merlin Centre. Tickets £5. Saturday 7.30pm.


Brannel Room: Coffee morning in aid of Cornwall Hospice Care Saturday 10am-noon.


The Wharf: Neil Innes in 'Another Chance to Get It Right'. Wednesday 8pm; Mad Dog McCrea, Friday 8pm; ZZ Tops & Are You Experienced? Saturday 8pm.

Melvin Hall, Kelly College: Kelly College Concert Society. Tickets £11 on the door, seniors £9 accompanied under 18s free. Wednesday 7.45pm.


Community Arts Theatre: Miracle Theatre Company present Frankenstein!Wednesday.


Babbacombe Theatre: Spellbound on Tuesday and Wednesdays 8.15pm.


Meadowbrook Community Centre, Dartington: Country music - Westcountry Union + Shogun. Doors open 6.30pm, music 8pm till 11.15pm.


St Thomas Church: Concert by the Tregadillett Songbirds supported by Mrs Anne Rowe. Tickets on the door £5 incl supper. Saturday 7.30pm.


Hall for Cornwall: Truro County Market. Tuesday 9.15-3pm.

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